There are tons of athletic shorts (and other apparel) on the market, which is why it’s easy to get overwhelmed by your choices. More often than not, you end up defaulting to the cheapest pair on offer from the name brand athletic companies you’ve been wearing since your mom bought your clothes for you. There’s another way.
It’s time to invest in some athletic shorts that are as multi-purpose as your life is. You wear your shorts to the gym, on a run, to the beach, and let’s face it—to get your Sunday morning coffee or to lay around the house watching Netflix. These shorts need to stand up to all of this and more. That’s why we’ve rounded up 12 of the best athletic shorts that will carry you through whatever activities you’ve got planned—whether they’re particularly active or not.
Aether Knit Shorts
LA-based Aether was founded by outdoorsy urban professionals with the desire to make high-performance clothing versatile enough for their everyday lives, and their knit shorts that do exactly that. Made with sweat-wicking French-terry fabric, the shorts have the performance capabilities of traditional synthetic gym clothing materials, but the natural feel of soft cotton. Top it off with a plush elastic band with a continuous drawstring, front hand-warmer pockets, and zippered front and back pockets, these will be your go-to shorts for whatever you have planned.
Myles Everyday Shorts
California-based Myles (get it, Myles/miles?) makes clothes that can easily transition from work[out] to play, like these Everyday Shorts. Made with a water repellant nylon/Spandex blend, the shorts are stretchy but hold a tailored shape that will carry you through your weekend run right to brunch with friends. The mesh-lined pocket is also a notable feature—it’s designed to keep your stuff stationary, even when you’re on the move (anyone who’s had to listen to their keys jangling in their pocket during a 5 mile run knows the exact value in this).
The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts
“Better than naked” is a bold, bold statement to make, and even though you might think of The North Face only for jackets that will protect you from harsh elements, these shorts make good on their braggy name. Popular among ultrarunners, these shorts are made with a breathable, quick-drying fabric, feature built-in compressive liner shorts with stow pockets on each leg, and are stitch-free on critical seams to minimize chafing.
Olivers All Over Short
San Francisco-based OLIVERS is a relatively new brand, but they do gear really, really well. Their All Over Short will surely get you through a workout, but because they look like a pair of board shorts, you can also wear them post-workout. Made with four-way stretch material (that also happens to be water-resistant), military-grade paracord drawstrings, and ballistic mesh pockets to stash your stuff, you’ll want to snatch up several pairs of these. And you can, because they’re available in six different colors.
Rhone Bullitt Shorts
Named for the Rhone Glacier (and Rhone River), Rhone is an apparel company built on a spirit of adventure, and you’ll certainly be up for any adventure that comes your way when wearing Rhone’s Bullitt Shorts. Made with quick-dry, moisture-wicking fabric, the shorts also feature flat-lock seams to prevent chafing, a Lycra-lined waistband to avoid friction, and a media pocket to store your phone. And if you want your gym shorts to inspire you, look on the inside—it’s printed with an inspirational quote that’ll help you get through your workout.
Vuori Kore Shorts
Born out of yoga, surf, and skateboarding culture, Encinitas-based Vuori offers design-led apparel for guys who are into boards or downward dogs. Made with stretchy, moisture-wicking fabric (the shorts are lined with COOLMAX technology that will keep you cool and dry during your workouts), the tailored, slim-fit shorts will be a favorite.
LuLuLemon Core Shorts – Hi Impact
Yes, LuLuLemon makes clothes for guys—not just the yoga pants you love looking at your girlfriend in. With its Core Shorts, the female-centric brand will convince you that they can make shorts that can stand up to dude sweat. Made with hi-impact Swift fabric, the shorts are made to stand up to an unusual amount of perspiration. The waistband is made with soft Luxtreme fabric with a lit of Lycra thrown in for extra stretch.
ISAORA Training Shorts
ISAORA’s mission is to create tech-y men’s clothes for the future, and while these shorts look pretty standard, their features are impressive. Made out of a breathable combination of nylon, polyester, and elastane, the shorts feature hidden front pockets with silicone-dipped pullers, a center back pocket with an auto-locking zipper, as well as reflective chevron on the back to keep you safe on early (or late) runs.
Tracksmith Longfellow Shorts
Massachusetts-based Tracksmith is dedicated to creating high-performance, lightweight gear for runners, and with the Longfellow Shorts, they don’t disappoint. Tested by Olympian Ruben Sanca, these fitted, handsome shorts are constructed from Swiss-made, water repellant, abrasion-resistant four-way stretch fabric and demonstrate an obsessive attention to detail. Featuring a rear-welt zippered pocket for your cellphone and a hidden pocket in the front made specifically to hold your credit card, gym pass, or hotel key card, these shorts are made for runners, by runners.
Nike Flex-Repel Shorts
No sports apparel round-up would be complete without a mention of Nike, and while they do have garish, baggy basketball shorts on offer, we’ll forgive them because of these Flex-Repel Shorts. On the surface, these look like regular cotton sweatshorts, but they’re more than that. Made with a sweat-wicking polyester/Spandex blend fabric, these stretchy shorts feature laser-cut ventilation for maximum cooling and an inseam gusset for enhanced range of motion.
Iffley Road Running Shorts
The name “Iffley Road” evokes a lot of history in the running world, mainly because it’s the name of the track at Oxford University where Englishman Roger Bannister became the first human on record to break a four-minute mile (that was back in 1954). That’s why all of Iffley Road’s gear reflects a simple English sensibility. These mesh-lined Road Running Shorts are made from Italian technical fabric, and feature tri-stripe side vents to keep you cool, whether you’re breaking time records or hanging out with your buddies.
Burberry Brit Jersey Shorts
We thought Burberry only made scarves and expensive briefcases too, but it turns out that they have a whole line of more relaxed apparel, namely, Burberry Brit. While these are a pretty big investment for shorts that you’re going to routinely sweat in, the shorts—made with a blend of six different fabrics—are built to last.